Edited by Stephen F. Schneck
“How many of us, over the last forty years, have opened up this or that book by Fred Dallmayr to acquaint ourselves with a new thinker or intellectual movement? It has happened to me several times. Each time, something else happens too. I become alert again to the distinctive and noble temper expressed in Dallmayr’s work. Letting Be consists of a series of essays by leading scholars who articulate and appreciate this temper, particularly as it has found expression in his thought about global politics work over last two decades. This is a fine study, devoted to a thinker whose temper of critical responsiveness deserves wide emulation.” —William E. Connolly, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor, Johns Hopkins University
“These essays constitute a marvelous, extended conversation on how political theory should delineate its future tasks. The reader is treated to a lively debate about a crucial set of questions: what strands of traditional Western political thought offer the best resources today; how do we think more comparatively about the foundations of political life; how do we engage more fruitfully Islamic, Indian, and mestizo contributions; and how do we best envision cross-cultural dialogue and imagine the shape of a “cosmopolis” in ways that will do greater justice to human dignity and diversity? All in all a rich feast honoring a remarkable man and scholar, Fred Dallmayr." —Stephen K. White, James Hart Professor, University of Virginia
“This is not the first Festschrift for Dallmayr, and it may not be the last, but it is the first that begins to be in a position to assess his long career with all its twists and turns. I have never fully understood Dallmayr as a creative thinker in his own right until now, and even when I sensed he was, I couldn’t precisely say how. Now I can.” —C. Fred Alford, University of Maryland
This volume gathers essays by fourteen scholars, written to honor Fred Dallmayr and the contributions of his political theory. Stephen F. Schneck’s introduction to Dallmayr’s thinking provides a survey of the development of his work. Dallmayr’s “letting be,” claims Schneck, is much akin to his reading of Martin Heidegger’s “letting Being be,” and should be construed neither as a conservative acceptance of self-identity nor as a nonengaged indifference to difference. Instead, he explains, endeavoring to privilege neither identity nor difference, the hermeneutic circle for Dallmayr must also be one of thoroughgoing critique and praxis. And, indeed, what joins together Dallmayr’s many essays and explorations, what inheres within his “cosmopolitan” understanding of the contemporary world, and what lends his analyses their imperative, is this same “letting be.”
The diversity of contributors to this volume—including Michaelle Browers, John Francis Burke, Neve Gordon, David Ingram, Hwa Yol Jung, Thomas McCarthy, Chantal Mouffe, Morton Schoolman, Calvin O. Schrag, Tracy B. Strong, Ronald J. Terchek, Franke Wilmer, and Krzysztof Ziarek—illustrate the broad range of Dallmayr’s own theory. His thinking has engaged ideas of Jürgen Habermas and Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault and Charles Taylor, Jacques Derrida and Abdolkarim Soroush—not to mention those of phenomenology, language philosophy, critical theory, hermeneutics, deconstruction, and a rich collection of non-Western thinkers, both classical and contemporary. Indeed, in the last decade Dallmayr’s works have expanded to develop the emerging field of comparative political thought, as his theoretical focus weaves across the old historical and geographical borders of thought, crossing North and South, East and West, ancient and modern. The scholars in this volume are among the first to address the full scope of Dallmayr’s contributions to contemporary thought, from his theoretical assessment of Western modernity to his cosmopolitical vision.